Who Should Be Liable for the COVID-19 Pandemic?
75 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2020 Last revised: 16 Apr 2021
Date Written: September 1, 2020
The Article systematically and critically evaluates the potential liability of various “suspects” for the physical, emotional, and economic losses arising from the COVID-19 pandemic: the country-of-origin (the People’s Republic of China), international organizations (particularly the World Health Organization), federal, state, and local governments and officers, businesses, and healthcare providers. It concludes that existing legal frameworks fail to provide an appropriate solution for victims, primarily because each of the potential defendants can easily evade liability. The Article then proposes a new hybrid (international-domestic) regime, inspired by the international framework for the compensation of victims of nuclear incidents and by the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
Keywords: COVID-19, liability, negligence, causation, state liability, international organization immunity, foreign sovereign immunity, international law, tort law, law and economics, September 11th fund
JEL Classification: k00, k13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation